Support the Center for Swedenborgian Studies
Greetings from Michigan.
We, like many of you, have faced some very unique challenges this year. Collectively, our world has been influenced by flooding, fires, racism, and a pandemic. The good news for all of us is that we have not had to face these tragedies on our own. We have been assisted by family, friends, and our church community. Most of our interactions with each other since March have been from a distance. We have all learned what Zoom is. We have worshipped on-line. We had a virtual Convention. Our children and grandchildren are receiving their education remotely.
In an effort to broaden the reach of our Swedenborgian theology and to focus on the CSS Mission of "sharing resources of scholarship, leadership, and people within the wider church and community," the Center has expanded its classes and seminars to nonstudents. Faculty are bringing world class faculty and discussions into our homes, while still continuing to provide more scholarly work for prospective clergy and licensed pastors.
This new version of religious education can harken back to the circuit preachers of the 18th and 19th centuries with a virtual twist. What our ministers (all of whom were educated through our seminary) and our CSS faculty are able to accomplish is to reach many more people across the world with timely and meaningful lectures and discussions through the lens of the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.
Dr. Esterson, assistant professor in sacred texts and traditions and Dorothea Harvey professor of Swedenborgian studies, is the recipient of the 2020 GTU Excellence in Teaching Award. She has several Licensed Pastors in her Swedenborgian Biblical Exegesis class from coast to coast.
Dr. Zuber’s book, “A Language of Things: Emanuel Swedenborg and the American Environmental Imagination”, was the recipient of the Borsch-Rast Book Prize and Lectureship awarded by the Graduate Theological Union.He also had over 60 participants in his Pandemic Theologies class where he lectured and discussed our current state of the world in relation to Swedenborg's Divine Providence for anyone who wanted to be involved.
Rev. Dr. George Dole has been providing online instruction to our Seminary students for over a decade. A Faculty Chair in his name was launched at our 2020 virtual Convention, in which he was the keynote speaker. The Founding Donor phase of funding for this faculty position continues to be open and donations are being accepted.
The new Operations Manager, Alex Sicular has been instrumental in providing support to the CSS mission, including his physical presence in overseeing the Swedenborgians in Action Against Racism event that is bringing 70 people together to discuss and learn more about the systemic racism in our country.
Alan Thomsen, our financial manager, continues to perform the accounting and reporting work in a combination of safe on-site and at-home activity. Librarian Michael Yockey is charged with keeping our rare and historical Swedenborgian library collection organized and accessible. He is currently undertaking the job of receiving and cataloging the massive gift from the now closed Urbana Library.
At the heart of the Center for Swedenborgian Studies is the Dean, Rev. Dr. Jim Lawrence. Dr. Lawrence continues to be involved as faculty at the Pacific School of Religion and the Graduate Theological Union as well as CSS. He is the Chair of the Standing Committee for Education and Resources for Spiritual Community, and sits on and participates in several other ongoing and ad hoc committees within the denomination.
Our seminary and the influence that our faculty is having in our hearts, our homes, and in our communities is priceless, but has a price. As Dr. Zuber explained in the introductory session of his pandemic class, Providence is about the future. Swedenborg wrote of Angelic Wisdom in Divine Providence. The title page of Divine Providence and several other writings have a print of a garden with a person watering flowers with the inscription CURA ET ABORE, "Care and Labor". This has to do with the growing and cultivation of what we have planted.
Our Seminary is the garden that needs our care and labor. Its vines, branches and fruits reach into our homes. We are able to enjoy and harvest the bountiful crop that is within our reach whenever we are ready to partake. Please find it in your heart to contribute to this relevant and living arm of our denomination.
Tom and BJ Neuenfeldt
If you would like to make a contribution by mail, please send your check to:
The Center for Swedenborgian Studies
1798 Scenic Ave. Berkeley, CA 94709